My Lucky Oracle

Kids workshop

A workshop for kids by Andrea Maria Krenn, visual artist and student at the Institute for Education in the Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

 In the current exhibition of Kunsthalle Wien, artist Daniel Spoerri presents word collages that bear the title Threadbare Oracles (Fadenscheinige Orakel). An oracle is a mysterious, funny, or baffling saying, which gives us a glimpse into the future. And by using the word threadbare, he’s not just referring to the threads used in his embroideries, but also to the fact that sometimes such prophecies aren’t all that credible. Is Daniel Spoerri perhaps trying to puzzle us with his title? Can it be that these oracle artworks confuse us, and maybe we should better ask ourselves if these sayings about the future can’t also be absurd and full of holes?

The technique that Daniel Spoerri used for his artwork is called collage. Art is created by assembling together different forms: various flat materials like photos, image clippings, or words are combined into a new, colorful whole. The word collage originates from the French “coller,” which means “to stick together.” For example, Dada and Surrealist artists often cut out words from newspapers and rearranged them into imaginative new constellations.

But Daniel Spoerri didn’t use paper and glue for his artworks, rather he went to flea markets and antique shops and purchased old embroidered cloths and textile wall covers. In the past such cloths were made by hand and stitched with words and message to liven up the home. Daniel Spoerri cut out and collected these stitched words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc.) and then combined them into new sentences, which suddenly made new sense, or just nonsense – hence, the Threadbare Oracles.

Got you curious about how to make your own oracle as a word collage? Well then, let’s get started! Hocus-pocus, 1, 2, 3 – Here’s a lucky oracle for me!

For your oracle you need:

• old newspapers, magazines, comics, or books and other printed materials that you don’t need anymore
• scissors
• a container to collect the cut-out words (bowl, envelope, box, basket). You can also make your own personal lucky oracle box with folded paper (maybe with the origami technique) and decorate it as you like
• glue
• paper
• 7 days of patience and a lot of lucky words
• a picture frame, perhaps, if you want to frame your lucky oracle collage

Watch this video and find out how to make your own lucky oracle and create an artwork.

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And here is how the word collage technique works:

• Choose different old newspapers, magazines, comics, books, advertisements, etc. in your favorite language – or maybe in several languages. Ask if really no one needs them anymore.

• For 7 days in a row, cut out 7 lucky words you like. Make sure you collect different types of words (such as verbs, nouns, articles, adjectives, etc.) because your oracle sentence needs a colorful, balanced mix of word types. (If you do not know all of the different types of words, ask someone to help – maybe they will also want to write an oracle along with you.)

• Collect all of your lucky words in a bowl, box, or envelope… or in your specially created lucky oracle box.

• After the 7th day you will have collected a total of 49 words.

• Shake or mix your lucky words well – that will bring you luck!

• Now close your eyes and pick your 7 oracle words.

• Lay them out in front of you and order them. Try to make a (non)sense oracle sentence. Shift the words around until they form a sentence you like, one that might also bring you luck. You don’t have to use all of the words. Even just 1 or 2 words can already be your oracle. If you have the feeling that the words aren’t making any (non)sense, you can put 3 words back and pick 3 new ones.

• Once you are happy with your lucky oracle, glue it onto paper in a pattern you like, take a photo, hang it up, or put it in your frame.

• If you want, you can also draw or paint what your lucky oracle says to you about the future.

• Good luck!!! Viel Glück!!! İyi şanslar!!!!

Please send a photo of your lucky oracle to

… or post it on Instagram #spaceforkids #orakeldirdeinglück #kunsthallewien #ofbread #akademiegehtindieschule #wienXtra
… or post it in our Facebook group /KunsthalleWienKinderworkshop

The workshop My Lucky Oracle by Andrea Maria Krenn was developed in the framework of the course Die Ausstellung als Lernort, a cooperation between Akademie geht in die Schule, the Institute for Education in the Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and Kunsthalle Wien.

If you want to know more about Daniel Spoerri and the collage technique, watch the following videos:

Trailer for “Dieser Film ist ein Geschenk”:

About the collage technique:

This book is also very interesting:

Your images

Those are just a few of the images that already reached us – a very warm thank you to all busy crafters!